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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 4:45 pm 
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While I think the line up of symposia for this year's session is impressive, I find it remarkable that somehow only a year after enactment and while FWS/APHIS/US Customs/Homeland Security are still figuring out what it all means that as of this afternoon there is no listing for any discussion of Lacey, CITES, and the current state of regulations regarding our industry. Just remarkable. I'm now knee deep in and have several new licenses to apply for in order to ship a sapele guitar to Australia. I managed to get a chain of custody of CITES paperwork on my honduran mahogany from Belize to my front door -- FWS demanded it. And yet ASIA isn't discussing this stuff. Have to say I'm disappointed, with the caveat that they're not finished putting it all together.

David D. Berkowitz
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 4:59 pm 
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David, This might be a good subject for Chris Martin's talk. (John Hall are you reading this?) or for the ASIA board to add someone to the agenda who can definitively illuminate this issue.
I for one would be quite interested.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 5:51 pm 
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Hmmm.....David, you're about as up on this as anyone. Did you just volunteer?

;)

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 6:01 pm 
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I think we may have an answer here . I know the wood buyers for CF Martin and see if we can cover this topic. I can't promise but will run it by the guys that can

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 7:22 pm 
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I think someone who has been dealing with this in a constant professional way might be able to explain it all.
Someone from Martin is a great idea, or perhaps LMI or Stew Mac.


Last edited by David LaPlante on Fri Mar 25, 2011 8:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 7:24 pm 
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Don, I'm not volunteering. I do know that Chuck Erikson is working on a piece for the GAL and was hoping to have it done by the deadline for the June issue, but the weather has knocked out power so he hasn't been able to work on it. He and I have been talking and I've shared what I've been told by APHIS and FWS, but I haven't finished the process. I can tell you FWS would not allow me to ship the guitar out of the country without the CITES paperwork on the honduran neck stock. I managed to get it, but it was a surprise. FWS admits the regs do not require vendors to provide their records. It's a mess.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 7:30 am 
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I agree it would be great if a company like CF Martin or Taylor would step up to the plate to deal with it at the Symposium. An individual builder has less time and resources than a large company to commit to the process. That said, it is a benefit to the whole industry to share the wealth of this information as David and Chuck are doing, but this may take a collaborative effort on the behalf of a number of folks including a legal representative in order to get something formal written up. Are we anywhere near close to it yet? Seems to me like things are still up in the air, but at least some folks are identifying some specifics. I'm betting we've just scratched the surface. So at least, some sort of update at the Symposium would be appropriate.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 7:47 am 
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I may yet do a symposium. I'm still ruminating. The factories have retained legal counsel and yet nonetheless have been pinched by the new regs -- Gibson being the obvious example. What the actual facts of the Gibson raid are remain in debate. Gibson has their position; my connections to FWS indicate something different, that there was a whistleblower within Gibson.

If I were to do a symposium, it would come with the disclaimer that it is only a guide and that anyone attempting to come into compliance has to do their own legwork. Chuck and I have both experienced the problem that within the context of their immediate area of work, people within the agency know some. But they don't know all, and folks I spoke with at FWS indicated in response to my experience with APHIS that in their opinion APHIS was overreaching in their authority regarding what they were asking for in terms of documentation.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 8:12 am 
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It's certainly a legal quagmire, eh? I suspect that as you have said, people will still need to do due diligence on their own if they're going to export, or even use certain materials for domestic sales. But having a basic guide to both the progression of our understanding of all this, and the depth and direction in which to proceed are invaluable to those in the industry. I'm not so certain that the big companies are going to be too willing to divulge all the data that their legal teams have come up with. To some extent, you get what you pay for. Still, this seems to be an industry where organizations such as CF Martin are actively involved in giving back to the industry community, so it's worth asking.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 1:17 pm 
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dberkowitz wrote:
I may yet do a symposium. I'm still ruminating. The factories have retained legal counsel and yet nonetheless have been pinched by the new regs -- Gibson being the obvious example. What the actual facts of the Gibson raid are remain in debate. Gibson has their position; my connections to FWS indicate something different, that there was a whistleblower within Gibson.

If I were to do a symposium, it would come with the disclaimer that it is only a guide and that anyone attempting to come into compliance has to do their own legwork. Chuck and I have both experienced the problem that within the context of their immediate area of work, people within the agency know some. But they don't know all, and folks I spoke with at FWS indicated in response to my experience with APHIS that in their opinion APHIS was overreaching in their authority regarding what they were asking for in terms of documentation.


The issue you have with APHIS is that you are asking them to certify something that US law does not have a provision to certify. The US laws are actually not that complicated and are rather easy to comply with
I have spent a fair amount of time researching this situation and have spoken directly with the Chief of the Division of Management Authority, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/International Affairs.

There is no CITES protection for Honduran Mahogany in a finished form unless it originates from Brazil or Nicaragua. A guitar neck made from Honduran Mahogany that originates from Belize is not subject to CITES. APHIS controls plant health and has interest in only wood in plant form.

Are you saying that APHIS is requiring you to have an export permit? Or is it that Australia wants certification about the wood in your guitar?

Perhaps Australia has asked for certification, that is above and beyond the scope of CITES, that the USFW or APHIS have no way to provide. But this is not a situation to blame F&W or APHIS for. One important thing that both F&W and APHIS told me is that there is no provision or need for them to come to a persons shop to inspect a guitar for export. They are only concerned with CITES inspection at the moment the item is entering or exiting international borders.

Later I will post what the laws actually are as explained to me by the person who approves all CITES export permits and what APHIS has to say about export permits for guitars. But I warn you what I have to say is good news and not bad at all.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 2:38 pm 
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Lance, with all due respect it doesn't matter what the regs say it matters how the agencies choose to implement them. I'm telling you that I was on the phone Friday with a FWS examiner and biologist and FWS will not issue an export permit for a guitar with honduran mahogany unless you can prove a chain of custody. Period. They want the CITES export certificate from the country of origin, cancelled by either of several US border agencies -- US Customs, APHIS, FWS, Homeland Security (in my case it happened to be homeland security), the import permit of the vendor, bill of lading for it, secondary sales receipt to my vendor in Pennsylvania and their import permit, and lastly my sales receipt. The governing issue is that it is your responsibility to prove that your mahogany is what you say it is and the only way to do that is with a chain of custody.

FWS believes APHIS is overreaching in what they were asking from me because their principle responsibility with a phytosanitary permit it to prevent the spread of disease or invasive species in and out of the country, but from an implementation standpoint it doesn't matter. I don't have time or the resources to start a fight with these folks. The agencies want what they want and what the regs actually say doesn't matter a dang. Even the folks within the agency acknowledge that not everyone is on the same page

I'm not here to debate the merits or the regs, or even what other agency people told you, I'm telling you what the ground game is here in Washington, DC, and it's ugly. These requests are beyond the scope of what Australia requires. This isn't about Australia. This is what the responsible parties here in DC are requiring of me.


Last edited by dberkowitz on Sat Mar 26, 2011 4:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 3:23 pm 
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David's correct on all counts. I was investigated by F&W for 8 months last year, and had to spend over 1,000 hours dealing with it, including extensive research. It pretty much wiped out the year as far as getting anything else done.

it's a commonly heard claim that importing/exporting wood materials and products involves only APHIS but not USF&W, but the following post will contain a short collection of quotes with their links to the USFWS, Lacey Act, and CITES websites and regulations. Some luthiers believe that:

1) Plant products (i.e. woods) are not “wildlife”.

2) F&W is involved exclusively only with animal (“fish” and “wildlife”) and not plant products.

3) It is therefore not required to get a F&W Import/Export Permit.

4) Since a F&W permit isn’t required, shipments containing only plant but not animal materials (bone, shell, ivory) can be cleared “informally” and without using a broker as long as the shipment is valued at less than $2,500.00 – advice which was taught during NAMM’s recent Lacey Act Webinar.

5) If no F&W permit is needed, there will be no $91.00 F&W “Inspection” or other fees at the port of clearance.

As will be evident from the quotes in the next post here:

1) The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and all other natural resources agencies do consider plants as being “wildlife”.

2) F&W is the main enforcement agency involved in monitoring and controlling the movement of wildlife materials across U.S. borders.

3) All “wildlife” imports/exports require permitting.

4) Any shipment, regardless of size or value, which requires a permit (of any kind, from any agency) must without exception go through “formal” clearance procedures at specifically designated border ports.

5) Formal entry will involve paying one or more “Inspection”, “Commercial transaction”, and other fees.

What most don’t understand is that as a sub-agency of the USDA, APHIS’s involvement with a wood product shipment is strictly concerned with health/plant disease issues (thus the “phytosanitary” forms and paperwork), but the same shipment still needs to be cleared by F&W as far as CITES and ESA protected species issues (and also for reporting the statistical details to the U.S. Census Bureau).

In addition, unless the U.S. importer/exporter is able to get a mandatory 3-digit “Entry Filer Code Number” issued by U.S. Customs (next to impossible for a person or small business entity) using a brokerage service will be unavoidable (brokers have an assigned number). This number must be supplied (confusingly, under different names!) in a specific box on many of the required government forms.

It remains entirely possible that shipments may continue to be cleared and released by Customs without full compliance on all the regs and paperwork, but this creates several latent but potentially disastrous problems: if ever challenged/investigated, failing to provide a correct document trail will bring “due diligence” into serious legal doubt; instruments and inventories risk later confiscation; the importer/exporter risks severe penalties involving fines and/or jail time; customers/recipients are also exposed to the same enforcement actions. “Flying under the radar” may have worked for decades, but with intensified governmental focus on guitar industry activities doing things the old way involves risks that can easily result in both the loss of a business and personal bankruptcy.

This is murky water even for U.S. Customs and F&W agents, and possibly even more so for brokers and lawyers (and NAMM experts). During an eight month long F&W investigation last year, I received plenty of wrong or sometimes incomplete information from all those sources, only getting knowledgeable answers (if then) when able to reach top officials, usually in Washington offices. A few of these admitted that many if not most of those working in enforcement at lower levels really don’t understand the fine or more obscure points of their own agency’s regs and protocols. The misinformation usually involves some degree of laziness, professional fatigue, ignorance, unfamiliarity with specialized and rarely referenced sections of the Code, borderline illiteracy, private misinterpretations, or quoting information that can be 10 or 15 years outdated (as much of the cached internet material is). It’s pretty frustrating, since you and I are held legally accountable for understanding and complying with very complex laws even though enforcement agents don’t. Even the F&W lady investigating us talked about the problem several times.

Other difficulties are that various agencies typically have little or no communication with each other even though paperwork needs to sometimes be coordinated between them, and that by law any government employee can not legally be held accountable/responsible in court for anything they may tell you, even if printed and signed on an agency’s letterhead! So be warned not to believe everything you’re told by lawyers, brokers, or government workers…do your homework.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 3:24 pm 
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IS THE USF&WS INVOLVED IN PLANT PRODUCT PERMITS
AND ENFORCEMENT?
(Excerpts from F&W Agency websites)

From: http://www.fws.gov/endangered/what-we-d ... ities.html

International Activities | Overview
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Endangered Species Program deals primarily with species found in the U.S. or its territories. However wildlife does not recognize our national borders and species that are familiar to us in our backyards spend much of their time in other countries. Foreign endangered species are primarily managed under the International Affairs Program which includes conservation grants, permits for import or export and regulations under CITES (Convention of International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).

From: http://www.fws.gov/endangered/permits/faq.html

What other offices issue permits for endangered or threatened species?
The FWS Division of Management Authority, located in our headquarters office, issues permits for foreign endangered and threatened species, and for import/export of native and foreign species.

From: http://www.fws.gov/endangered/permits/index.html

Permits
Section 10 of the Endangered Species Act is designed to regulate a wide range of activities affecting plants and animals designated as endangered or threatened, and the habitats upon which they depend.

What are the different types of permits?
The FWS Endangered Species program, located in each of our Regional offices, issues permits for native endangered and threatened species, except for import or export permits, which are issued by the Division of Management Authority.

From: http://www.fws.gov/international/DMA_DSA/DMA_home.html

Division of Management Authority Overview
How are we organized?
DMA is one of three divisions within the International Affairs Program of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which is an agency within the Department of the Interior.

What work do we do?
U.S. Management Authority. International cooperation is essential to safeguarding the survival of many wild animals and plants in trade. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) provides a framework for nations to work together to prevent further declines in wildlife populations. Most of U.N. recognized nations of the world are now party to CITES, the total number of signatories now exceeding 160 countries. Each country has a Management Authority to oversee implementation of the Convention. In the United States, this role is carried out by DMA.

Primary functions.
The Branch of Permits uses permits as a tool to help conserve wildlife for enjoyment and use by people, both today and in the future. Through the permitting process valuable data are gathered, shared, and used to monitor and manage trade of animals and plants. The branch processes permits under CITES, Lacey Act (injurious wildlife), Marine Mammal Protection Act, Wild Bird Conservation Act, and U.S. Endangered Species Act.

From: http://www.fws.gov/endangered/laws-poli ... icies.html

Laws & Policies | Regulations and Policies
The Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA-Fisheries in the Department of Commerce share responsibility for administration of the Endangered Species Act. We have issued internal guidance and national policies to promote efficiency and nationwide consistency in implementing the ESA to conserve and recover listed species of plants and animals native to the United States and its territories.

From: http://www.fws.gov/endangered/laws-poli ... ion-9.html

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants: Notice of Interagency Cooperative Policy for Endangered Species Act Section 9 Prohibitions
AGENCIES: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior, and National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

Background
Section 9 of the Act prohibits certain activities that directly or indirectly affect endangered species. These prohibitions apply to all individuals, organizations, and agencies subject to United States jurisdiction…With respect to endangered plants, analogous prohibitions make it illegal for any person subject to the jurisdiction of the United States to import or export, transport in interstate or foreign commerce in the course of a commercial activity, sell or offer for sale in interstate or foreign commerce, or to remove and reduce to possession any such plant species from areas under Federal jurisdiction. In addition, for endangered plants, the Act prohibits malicious damage or destruction of any such species on any area under Federal jurisdiction, and the removal, cutting, digging up, or damaging or destroying of any such species on any other area in knowing violation of any State law or regulation, or in the course of any violation of a State criminal trespass law.

Scope of Policy
This policy applies for all species of fish and wildlife and plants, as defined under the Act, listed after October 1, 1994

Authority
The authority for this policy is the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531-1544).



Notes by Chuck Erikson: The Endangered Species Act (ESA), Lacey Act, CITES, and U.S. Fish & Wildlife (USF&WS) regulations all consider both animal and plant species as being “wildlife”. All “wildlife” materials and products entering or leaving the U.S. are required by law to be accompanied by an F&W Import/Export Permit since F&W is the agency in charge of enforcement at the borders as well as domestically – as recent evidence that F&W is actively enforcing plant product violations, on November 17, 2009 it was none other than U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials who raided Gibson’s facilities in Nashville and seized raw wood, guitars, and computers. The F&W Permit is needed regardless of whether or not the customs clearance forms involved are the F&W Declaration Form 3-177 (for animal wildlife) or other non-F&W forms such as the APHIS PPQ Forms 505, 585 or 621 (plant wildlife – see details below).

PPQ Form 505: Plant and Plant Product Declaration Form: (http://www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/ ... onform.pdf). This reporting is not limited to only listed (protected/endangered/threatened, or CITES Class I, II, and III) species, but the form requires a declaration for all plant species regardless of their protected or non-protected status :

“You are required to complete this form if you are importing any of the following: Any wild member of the plant kingdom, including roots, seeds, parts, or products thereof, and including trees from either natural or planted forest stands, except: 1. Common cultivars, except trees, and common food crops (including roots, seeds, parts, or products thereof).”

Although the PPQ 505 is for importing, since both the Lacey Act and CITES apply equally to “export, re-export, import and introduction from the sea” you still need an F&W Import/Export Permit and must use declaration forms for the shipment. Information on exporting plant products (woods) can be found in the USDA “CITES I-II-III Timber Species Manual” at: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/import_export ... /cites.pdf. Currently, “Re-exportation of CITES Protected Timber Species” begins on page 3-1, and “Determine Which Documents Are Needed” begins on page 3-20.

Importing plant materials or products requires using one of these USDA/APHIS permit application forms:

PPQ 585, Application for Permit to Import Timber or Timber Products (logs and lumber)

PPQ 621, Application for Application for Protected Plant Permit to Engage in the Business of Importing, Exporting, or Re-exporting Protected Plants (CITES)

When exporting plant materials or products in any form (such as parts or completed products), one or more of these USDA/APHIS declaration forms, including the PPQ 621 shown above, will be necessary (from: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/import_export ... orms.shtml):

PPQ Form 572, Application for Inspection and Certification of Domestic Plants and
Plant Products for Export
“No Phytosanitary Export Certificate can be issued until an application is completed”, and “A form designed to provide the information needed to complete PPQ Forms 577 , 578, and 579, and to serve as a worksheet for the certifying official conducting the inspection. Although this form is required by regulation, in practice, alternative methods are used to obtain the necessary information for inspection and certification. When a PPQ Form 572, is used by an exporter as an application, the exporter should complete only the description of consignment section. Certifying officials should carefully check that extraneous information was not included on the form by the exporter.”

PPQ Form 577, Phytosanitary Certificate
“The Phytosanitary Certificate, PPQ Form 577, is used to certify that the domestic plants or plant products have been inspected according to appropriate procedures, and they are considered to be free from quarantine pests, practically free from other injurious pests, and conform to the current phytosanitary regulations of the importing country.”

PPQ Form 579, Phytosanitary Certificate for Reexport
“The Phytosanitary Certificate for Reexport, PPQ Form 579, certifies that, based on the original foreign phytosanitary certificate and/or an additional inspection, the plants or plant products officially entered the United States, are considered to conform to the current phytosanitary regulations of the importing country, and have not been subjected to the risk of infestation of infection during storage in the United States.”

These declaration requirements allow border agents to verify whether a physical inspection of the wood involved agrees with what is being declared in the documents.

But since inspection and enforcement are delegated to the USFWS, the importer/exporter must possess an F&W Import/Export Permit. In practice, until such time as any wood (or shell product) is actually declared and inspected at a port of entry, it must be handled as though it were a listed species, thus requiring the use of the F&W Permit.

Shipments containing “wildlife” can only be cleared at specified ports of entry (not all ports). Additionally, a shipment which contains “wildlife” material or requires any type of permitting (CITES I, II, and III species all require permitting, such as the F&W Import/Export Permit or the APHIS PPQ Forms 585 and 621) must go through a “formal clearance” procedure regardless of its size or value. http://www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/ ... ct_Q&A.pdf:

9. Is there a de minimis exception?
The statute does not provide for any de minimis exceptions, either to the substantive prohibitions or to the declaration requirement.

Also, the quantity of each species of plant material (i.e. wood) in a shipment must be tallied and listed separately using metric units only: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/ ... easure.pdf

Beginning May 1, 2010, APHIS is requiring that plant material quantities be reported on the declaration using standardized metric units: kg, m, m2, m3.

The Lacey Act prohibits interstate movement of any fish or wildlife (wood, bone, ivory, or shell) unless the container or package has been properly marked, as below.
http://www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/ ... -may08.pdf:

§ 3372. Prohibited acts:
“(b) Marking offenses
It is unlawful for any person to import, export, or transport in interstate commerce any container or package containing any fish or wildlife unless the container or package has previously been plainly marked, labeled, or tagged in accordance with the regulations issued pursuant to paragraph (2) of section 3376 (a) of this title.”

To be in compliance with “paragraph (2) of section 3376 (a)”, how is this done?

For imports/exports: by either 1) writing on the outside of the box “CONTAINS WILDLIFE PRODUCTS” and attaching a list of the contents which includes both the common and Latin names of the species involved, their countries of origin, their Harmonized Tariff Code Classification Numbers, and your F&W Permit Number, or, 2) writing on the box only your F&W Permit Number (“FWS LE XXXXXX-X”) and including a detailed list inside the shipment.

For interstate shipments: writing on the outside of the box “CONTAINS WILDLIFE PRODUCTS” and having either on or inside the box a list of the contents which includes everything mentioned above, except that a F&W Import/Export Permit is not required (since you’re not importing or exporting).

Although I haven’t heard of the interstate shipping regs being enforced anywhere, and it’s extremely doubtful that any carrier or agency is even paying attention, we’re now using a stamp for marking all packages as mentioned above to avoid F&W showing up at some point and accusing us of not having been in compliance.


Last edited by Chuck Erikson on Tue Mar 29, 2011 2:40 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 5:05 pm 
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dberkowitz wrote:
Lance, with all due respect it doesn't matter what the regs say it matters how the agencies choose to implement them. I'm telling you that I was on the phone Friday with a FWS examiner and biologist and FWS will not issue an export permit for a guitar with honduran mahogany unless you can prove a chain of custody. Period.


David, before you put a "period" tell us under what law you are required to get an export permit for a CITES apx2 species that is in the form of a guitar neck?
Why have you applied for an export permit?

Quote:
They want the CITES export certificate from the country of origin, cancelled by either of several US border agencies -- US Customs, APHIS, FWS, Homeland Security (in my case it happened to be homeland security), the import permit of the vendor, bill of lading for it, secondary sales receipt to my vendor in Pennsylvania and their import permit, and lastly my sales receipt. The governing issue is that it is your responsibility to prove that your mahogany is what you say it is and the only way to do that is with a chain of custody.


Who is requiring this and who tells you you need the export permit? This is not what I was told by the chief CITES enforcement officer in Arlington VA.

Quote:
FWS believes APHIS is overreaching in what they were asking from me because their principle responsibility with a phytosanitary permit it to prevent the spread of disease or invasive species in and out of the country, but from an implementation standpoint it doesn't matter. I don't have time or the resources to start a fight with these folks. The agencies want what they want and what the regs actually say doesn't matter a dang. Even the folks within the agency acknowledge that not everyone is on the same page


When I called the head of APHIS exports in Los Angeles he told me there is no requirement for a guitar to have an export license. Not only that but they have no way to issue an export license on a guitar because it is not under jurisdiction of APHIS. Maybe you should ship your guitar from the west coast? He also checked with his list of restrictions provided by Australia and there are none.

Quote:
I'm not here to debate the merits or the regs, or even what other agency people told you, I'm telling you what the ground game is here in Washington, DC, and it's ugly. These requests are beyond the scope of what Australia requires. This isn't about Australia. This is what the responsible parties here in DC are requiring of me.


Better look beyond Washington DC because it seems like they are not giving you correct answers. With all due respect.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 5:23 pm 
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Cocobolo
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ChainsawChuck wrote:
David's correct on all counts. I was investigated by F&W for 8 months last year, and had to spend over 1,000 hours dealing with it, including extensive research. It pretty much wiped out the year as far as getting anything else done.

it's a commonly heard claim that importing/exporting wood materials and products involves only APHIS but not USF&W, but the following post will contain a short collection of quotes with their links to the USFWS, Lacey Act, and CITES websites and regulations. Some luthiers believe that:


Importing into the USA and exporting out of the USA are two different situations.
Most of what you have quoted pertains more to imports. We care much more about what we bring in as opposed to what we send out.
Davids dilemma is with trying to get an export license for something that does not require a license.
I still can't find one place that states that US law requires an export permit for a guitar that only contains NON CITES regulated species?

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 5:23 pm 
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Mahogany
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With all due respect in return, read the regs for yourself, including the small sampling listed above, and note that the wording is inclusive of both the material itself and anything made from it: "plants or plant products". A core issue is the classification of all natural materials as "wildlife", which is the enforcement jurisdiction of USF&W, not APHIS or CITES -- these folks have a hard time correctly understanding their own regs, much less those of other agencies. In other words, don't at all depend on what a CITES officer may tell you about F&W stuff (and vice versa), or you'll wind up in trouble. One agency may not require permitting even though another agency does; and all "wildlife" requires F&W permitting.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 5:31 pm 
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Mahogany
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Quote:
Importing into the USA and exporting out of the USA are two different situations.


Not true, or at least only partially true. Phytosanitary concerns may differ, but a F&W Import/Export Permit is required for moving both in and out of the country. This applies without distinction as to whether a particular species is listed or not, and it makes no difference whether the shipment involves raw material, parts, completed products, or antiques.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 5:37 pm 
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Cocobolo
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OF course all wildlife and plants require permits. They always have.
I have read the regs. I have talked to officials.

Permits are easy to get when they are required and what you need the permit for is in order.

No person can read the law themselves and correctly interpret the law. You have to look at how the law has been and is being enforced.
I think a lot has to do with how a person approaches his research... Is a person looking for a way to comply with the law or a way to get around the law?
Don't misunderstand I don't like the law s either.

I wrote some info about this a couple weeks ago and just now finished it. I started a new thread so the subject line would be more clear to know the thread content. I'm not trying to hyjack this thread but here is where I posted...
viewtopic.php?f=10101&t=31623

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 5:41 pm 
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Koa
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See comments below. this was posted in error.


Last edited by dberkowitz on Sat Mar 26, 2011 6:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 5:45 pm 
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Cocobolo
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ChainsawChuck wrote:
Quote:
Importing into the USA and exporting out of the USA are two different situations.


Not true, or at least only partially true. Phytosanitary concerns may differ, but a F&W Import/Export Permit is required for moving both in and out of the country. This applies without distinction as to whether a particular species is listed or not, and it makes no difference whether the shipment involves raw material, parts, completed products, or antiques.


Not true. It does make a difference what form the species is in. Here is an exerpt from the USDA CITES I-II-III Timber Species Manual that tells the importation inspector how to treat the species. In this case Honduran Mahogany is only CITES listed in the raw form.

Swietenia macrophylla

1. VERIFY by physical inspection
that the articles are not logs,
lumber, plywood, or veneer;
then the articles are not
regulated by CITES
2. EXIT this manual


If the inspector looks a a guitar with a mahogany neck there is no way he can determine it to be regulated by CITES.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 6:06 pm 
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Lance, let's start with that you are looking at USDA, and it isn't the governing authority, FWS is under the aegis of the Department of Interior, so USDA guidelines don't apply to FWS. FWS is the governing authority when it comes to import and export enforcement with regard to ANY wildlife regardless of CITES listing -- if it wasn't clear before, Lacey made it so.

If you are to export a CITES listed material you have to fill out a form 3-200-32, Federal Fish and Wildlife Permit Application Form EXPORT/RE-EXPORT OF PLANTS (CITES), http://www.fws.gov/forms/3-200-32.pdf.

Item 3:

Quote:
3. On a separate page, please list all specimens, sorted by Appendices (I, II, or III) and sorted by native species
versus non-native species. For EACH plant specimen, indicate:
a. Scientific name (genus, species, and if applicable, hybrid, variety, cultivar, or subspecies) and common
name;
b. General description (e.g., whole plant, seeds, raw product, parts and derivatives; size)*
* For Plant Products (e.g., timber, medicinal products, nutritional supplements), the general
description (example: bottles of Hoodia gordonii, 30 capsules in each bottle, each capsule contains 100
mg of H. gordonii) should include:
i. Form of product (e.g., plywood, tablet, capsule, fruit bar);
ii. Form of packaging (if applicable);
iii. Quantity, including the amount/percentage of listed plant species in each package, in metric units;
and
iv. Product name, if applicable.
c. Quantity;
d. Country where the plant was acquired; and
e. Source of the specimen (e.g., removed from the wild or artificially propagated).


Item 11 of this form is:
Quote:
11. For Re-Export (the export of plants that were previously imported), provide evidence the specimen(s) was
legally imported:
a. Copies of canceled CITES export or re-export document issued by the appropriate CITES office in the
country from which the plant was imported. The copies must be stamped by Customs and Border
Protection or USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS); AND
b. If you did not make the original import, a copy of the invoice or other document that shows you
purchased the plant from the original importer or history of transactions. (Be sure to correlate each
document to the corresponding plant.)


There is no provision for lumber versus remanufacture, and there specifically is no provision for Appendix I vs II or III. I don't know how much clearer I can be than the fact that in order to re-export a CITES listed material, you have to fill out one of these forms and provide them with the appropriate documentation.

I should add that there are specific sections for Brazilian rosewood guitars.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 7:04 pm 
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Cocobolo
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I know that F&W is the enforcing agency. I spoke directly to the person in F&W that approves all CITES permits. He told me that Mahogany (S.macrophylla) when in a finished product, specifically a guitar neck, was not subject to CITES. Mahogany in a finished form is not listed on CITES as restricted. This is from F&W not USDA.
Maybe you want to check with F&W head office in VA before you jump through all the hoops? Perhaps what your local F&W agent is overlooking are the exemptions and exclusions?

dberkowitz wrote:
Lance, let's start with that you are looking at USDA, and it isn't the governing authority, FWS is under the aegis of the Department of Interior, so USDA guidelines don't apply to FWS. FWS is the governing authority when it comes to import and export enforcement with regard to ANY wildlife regardless of CITES listing -- if it wasn't clear before, Lacey made it so.

If you are to export a CITES listed material you have to fill out a form 3-200-32, Federal Fish and Wildlife Permit Application Form EXPORT/RE-EXPORT OF PLANTS (CITES), http://www.fws.gov/forms/3-200-32.pdf.

Item 3:

Quote:
3. On a separate page, please list all specimens, sorted by Appendices (I, II, or III) and sorted by native species
versus non-native species. For EACH plant specimen, indicate:
a. Scientific name (genus, species, and if applicable, hybrid, variety, cultivar, or subspecies) and common
name;
b. General description (e.g., whole plant, seeds, raw product, parts and derivatives; size)*
* For Plant Products (e.g., timber, medicinal products, nutritional supplements), the general
description (example: bottles of Hoodia gordonii, 30 capsules in each bottle, each capsule contains 100
mg of H. gordonii) should include:
i. Form of product (e.g., plywood, tablet, capsule, fruit bar);
ii. Form of packaging (if applicable);
iii. Quantity, including the amount/percentage of listed plant species in each package, in metric units;
and
iv. Product name, if applicable.
c. Quantity;
d. Country where the plant was acquired; and
e. Source of the specimen (e.g., removed from the wild or artificially propagated).


Item 11 of this form is:
Quote:
11. For Re-Export (the export of plants that were previously imported), provide evidence the specimen(s) was
legally imported:
a. Copies of canceled CITES export or re-export document issued by the appropriate CITES office in the
country from which the plant was imported. The copies must be stamped by Customs and Border
Protection or USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS); AND
b. If you did not make the original import, a copy of the invoice or other document that shows you
purchased the plant from the original importer or history of transactions. (Be sure to correlate each
document to the corresponding plant.)


There is no provision for lumber versus remanufacture, and there specifically is no provision for Appendix I vs II or III. I don't know how much clearer I can be than the fact that in order to re-export a CITES listed material, you have to fill out one of these forms and provide them with the appropriate documentation.

I should add that there are specific sections for Brazilian rosewood guitars.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 7:15 pm 
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Koa
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Lance that is a FWS permit document. It is current. I spoke with folks in the Division of Management Authority. It was they who told me I have to fill this form out. I'm not sure what to make of all of this other than different folks within the same office are of different opinions. The form is pretty clear, it makes no exceptions. I'd like to know who Craig Hoover is because he's not listed in the FWS employee list that I have. Both the examining agent and the biologist in DMA specifically told me I had to fill this form out and provide the aforementioned information.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 7:48 pm 
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I do understand that for pro builders this legislation, or should we say the new found vigor in enforcing these laws, 'really' complicates the business of building guitars in the USA. There does appear to be quite a lot of education required for both those directly affected, and those who enforce these laws.

It is my belief that when a new restriction is put in place, especially one as complicated as that being discussed here, those who are expected to comply will often times 'under' estimate the full extent of the changes they face and will argue every point in the hope of finding a loop hole to make them an exception. In response, until such time as all the fine detail has been threshed out and the arguments by those players in the game who matter have been tested, the front line of those agencies who enforce laws are often instructed to take a blanket approach e.g. simply close their eyes, place their fingers in their ears, and shout repeatedly over the top of the throng "THERE IS NO EXCEPTIONS".

This is an understandable response from the agencies because you cannot teach your subordinates what you don't yet understand yourself. But eventually when all the ins and outs have been mapped out, formal training will allow consistency between the agencies, and from that, those directly effected by the change will become educated and will begin to understand exactly how affected they really are....It will take time to reach that point and my guess is that there will be a good deal of pain along the way. But generally speaking, once the blanket is lifted by the bureaucrats, the restrictions are rarely as brutal as they first appeared to be, but they are never going to be an easy pill for those who must do the swallowing.

So the egg has now been scrambled, there is no going back, and whilst I acknowledge this is mainly a pro builders issue for now, I clearly see an elephant in the room. What will this do to the value of all those BRW sets and the like that some may have horded over the years in the hope their investment would provide some relief in retirement? Even if you 'can' provide all the required paperwork allowing you to sell or use these woods, once people, players, customers, become more educated about these restrictions and the reason behind their implementation, and once they realise the responsibilities and restrictions that will be placed upon them in ownership of an instrument made from such material, will they want to buy in to such bother?

On another note, CITES has been around for a long time, and now there is the Lacey Act coming into play bringing CITES along with it.....so what is next?

If you think that BRW will always be desirable enough to command a high price simply because it is what the punter really wants, then perhaps you should consider what happened to the fur trade.. Virtually over night, a mink coat went from being the most desirable and expensive fashion statement money could buy, to the cloak of a cold blooded murderess that one could hardly give away ...still soft, still beautiful, but so passe. If these woods currently so desirable suffer the same fate in the eyes of the public, should they too become passe, and to some extent that is already happening, then it would only require just one more bit of publicly supported legislation to make the use of such wood in 'any' application illegal regardless of the pedigree of ownership. It is a bit of a stretch I know, but should it happen and the precedent be set, what happens to cocobolo, zirocote, madrose and the likes should they be declared category 1?? Will the big rubber stamp of convenience through prior legislation fall upon them too leaving those sets that have already been seasoned in your workshops for years virtually worthless??

Worrying times indeed for those with a stash...sort of makes me glad that BRW has been beyond our access here in AU for a long time but I do have some coco and the like that is all legitimate...I hope it stays that way, no Lacey Act here in AU....but I am sure we will have one soon enough under a different name.....time to stock up on sustainable....lucky we have some good ones here.

Cheers

Kim


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2011 8:24 pm 
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dberkowitz wrote:
Lance that is a FWS permit document. It is current. I spoke with folks in the Division of Management Authority. It was they who told me I have to fill this form out. I'm not sure what to make of all of this other than different folks within the same office are of different opinions. The form is pretty clear, it makes no exceptions. I'd like to know who Craig Hoover is because he's not listed in the FWS employee list that I have. Both the examining agent and the biologist in DMA specifically told me I had to fill this form out and provide the aforementioned information.



Craig Hoover is the head biologist directly under:

Robert R. Gabel
Chief, Division of Management Authority
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/International Affairs
4401 North Fairfax Drive, Room 212
Arlington, Virginia 22203, USA

I did not make note of Mr Hoover's official title, but he is the boss when it comes to CITES and species.
You should call and speak directly to him. If he tells you something different than he told me then there is no hope of knowing what is real. If you want his number PM me.

When I spoke to him I was very specific about wanting to export a guitar that contained a mahogany neck and we discussed what the requirements are. I did take the time to ask him to review the CITES restrictions for the species. I told him the guitar was being exported as a commercial sale not for personal use.
If you called the office and spoke with a "generic" biologist and asked a simple question like "what is needed to export a CITES 2 species" then you may have gotten a correct answer about what permits are required. Did you make it clear to the person you spoke with that it is CITES species but that the finished form of the species is exempt from CITES? When dealing with federal permits you have to basically tell them how to do their job.

I'm not trying to argue any points just trying to to help walk down a difficult trail.

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